FMCSA Issues Final Rule for the Downgrade of Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs)

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an amendment to a final rule, effective November 8, 2021, establishing requirements for State Driver’s Licensing Agents (SLDAs) to access and use information obtained through the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

According to the FMCSA:

“SDLAs must not issue, renew, upgrade, or transfer a commercial driver's license (CDL), or commercial learner's permit (CLP), as applicable, for any individual prohibited under FMCSA's regulations from performing safety- sensitive functions, including driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), due to one or more drug and alcohol program violations. Further, SDLAs must remove the CLP or CDL privilege from the driver's license of an individual subject to the CMV driving prohibition, which would result in a downgrade of the license until the driver complies with return-to-duty (RTD) requirements.”

Additionally, the final rule also requires that states who are receiving grant funds from the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) adopt a compatible CMV driving prohibition for CLP and CDL holders in violation of FMCSA's drug and alcohol program requirements and makes clarifying and conforming changes to current regulations.

What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse?

The FMCSA Clearinghouse will contain records of drug and alcohol violations per FMCSA regulations, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. This will allow employers to identify drivers who are not legally permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) due to drug and alcohol program violations. The database will provide real-time access and updates so that employers can make smarter decisions.

What Does This Mean For Employers?

The final rule will help remove unsafe drivers from the road and enhance compliance standards with the CMV driving prohibition. Although the effective date is November 8, 2021, compliance with the final rule is required by November 18, 2024, giving the FMCSA time to receive Petitions for Reconsideration. It’s vital that employers remain up to date on the latest changes to remain in compliance.

How Can DISA Help?

DISA’s professionals offer expert assistance with all DOT agencies, including FAA, FRA, FTA, FMCSA, PHMSA, and USCG. By keeping you informed and up to date with the latest news and changes, DISA is helping to keep your company in compliance. DISA’s Transportation Compliance (DTC) team offers Clearinghouse services including:

•    Report certain violations on your behalf.

•    Perform queries on your behalf when requested (orders must be placed through our backgrounds services; DISA does not conduct queries automatically).

•    Assist in tracking completion of queries through

•    Driver Qualification Services.

For additional information on how DISA can further assist you with the FMCSA, visit our Clearinghouse FAQ page.

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About DISA Global Solutions

Founded in 1986, DISA is the industry-leading provider of employee screening and compliance services. Headquartered in Houston, with more than 35 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, DISA’s comprehensive scope of services includes drug and alcohol testing, background check, occupational health, and transportation compliance. DISA assists employers in making informed staffing decisions while building a culture of safety in their workplace.

DISA Global Solutions aims to provide accurate and informative content for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The reader retains full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein. Always consult with a professional or legal expert.